Understandable text and Information for all
”Understandable Text and Information for All” is a three-year research project aimed at improving access to understandable and accessible social information in Sweden. The project is run by the Swedish Dyslexia Association, Swedish Aphasia Association, Autism & Asperger Association and the Association for People with Intellectual Disabilities. Funka conducts user tests with a focus on reading comprehension of different types of texts.
The target groups of the project have difficulty accessing the content of public texts and public information, and the purpose of the project is to find out how the conditions look like at both group and individual levels.
This autumn the project is in an interesting phase, as tests are being conducted in which the degree of comprehension in different texts is being investigated. The test persons have been recruited from the various disability organisations that participate in the project. Some of the tests were conducted during a Dyslexia exhibition in October.
The tests were greatly appreciated because they were exciting. And your attendance was appreciated since you brightened up the fair with your warmth, says Ester Hedberg, Project Manager for Understandable Text.
The test subjects are tasked to read several different texts during a test, that are documented with different techniques. Funka has particular responsibility for the parts of the tests where the technique eyetracking is used. This means that with the help of a type of eye-movement camera, you record where the user looks at the screen. In addition to using eyetracking, participants will discuss the texts with the test leaders. At each test, one or two people participate simultaneously. During the tests, users get time to reflect on the texts they read. What is hard to understand? How could one write better?
Different people read in different ways, which is an interesting aspect to investigate. How do they read, what does the reading pattern look like? Some people skim through the text and jump between headings, others get stuck in difficult words. The test leaders ask a variety of questions that are tailored to the needs of each user, record the discussions, and take notes during the tests.
User tests are incredibly rewarding. When you meet end users, you get a better understanding of how a service works and can be improved, and by actually meeting people with different abilities, you get a good foundation to learn more about behaviors, feelings and driving forces. "says Moa Glantz, Accessibility and User Experience Expert at Funka. In addition, it is always inspiring to meet testers, the majority of whom I have met are positive, committed and want to be involved.
The content of the texts is produced by professionals who work with text and information for people with different disabilities. The texts are of various kinds, including newspaper articles and instructional texts. Test subjects' personal interests can also affect how well one is taking tests, and therefore several different variants of a type of text have been offered at the tests. Sometimes an instruction text on how to make settings on your mobile phone has been used, another time it may be a food recipe.
The autumn test period is ongoing. In the spring, tests will take place at a stage where more emphasis will be placed on how text structure, design and typography can affect the understanding of a text. What can complementary images and layout mean and possibly add to the context and comprehension of a text?
The project is funded with funds from the Swedish Inheritance Fund and is run in cooperation with the Swedish Agency for Accessible Media, the Institute for Language and Folklore, and publishers and a newspaper with an easy reading focus.